If you’re like most of my clients, you probably find yourself worrying about your teenagers’ prospects career wise especially now with the reported impact of COVID on the economy and on jobs. Many parents want me to recommend careers for their youngsters that have genuine opportunities and room for progression. Often, my younger clients themselves are concerned about being able to buy a house and support a family. I can’t help but find this quite touching.
While my usual advice would be for you to encourage your youngsters toward areas that genuinely interest them or nudge them in the direction of where their talents lie, there are some industries struggling to recruit. They might be the answer for some of you.
Here are my first five.
What is it? Perhaps surprisingly many of my younger clients have not heard of this field. Cyber security experts work to ensure networks, software systems and data systems are as protected as possible against attack and hacking. They do this by both building strong systems and through constant testing to eliminate vulnerabilities. The field has good opportunities partly because digital technology is rapidly and constantly developing and experts need to stay on top of their game to beat the ‘baddies’.
What skills could be needed? The ideal background for this work is computer science, maths and physics but the bigger players will train school leavers with the right aptitudes (logic, systematic, curiosity, enjoying puzzle solving) and there are some good apprenticeships on offer too. Being motivated to learn a computer language like Python or C++ would be a good indicator that this work might be suited.
What is it? Social work is a regulated profession there to support adults, children, families and communities to improve their lives and protect human rights and well-being. Unfortunately, most of my clients have been reluctant to consider social work perceiving it to be too stressful. However, it is also true to say that it can be a very rewarding career, where you can make a significant difference to people’s lives. Plus, it’s an area with plenty of opportunities.
What skills could be needed? Caring and patient on the one hand and resilient, organised and flexible on the other. This is a degree entry profession so you can either study for a degree in social work, do a postgraduate conversion type qualification if your degree is not in social work or through a degree apprenticeship.
What is it? Some of you might be thinking that I’ve included this by mistake but the landscaping industry is genuinely suffering from a skills shortage. By landscaping, I mean the design, laying out, construction and maintenance of green spaces and gardens. Hard landscaping, in particular, needs talent. It was an area of growth before Covid took hold but now there is an even greater appreciation of the importance of open spaces to our mental health, and so a greater need to recruit enthusiastic hands.
What skills could be needed? Don’t be fooled, I am not talking here about unskilled, rough and ready gardening or garden clearance. The industry is desperately in need of people willing to train and learn about site surveys, creating and working from plans, brickwork, paving, pergolas, decking, planting, and plant and lawn care. In addition there is a need for specialists in drainage, soil science and use of chemicals.
What is it? Love it or hate it, the UK is a global leader in offshore wind – using the power of the wind in the seas surrounding us to generate electricity – and as a result there are many opportunities in this dynamic and innovative sector. Most career opportunities will be up and down the East coast and some on the South coast and in Wales but there are also developments near Barrow and Warrington.
What skills could be needed? Maths and science are the ideal backgrounds for careers in oceanography, environmental science and installation management. There are also opportunities for those inclined toward construction including welding, scaffolding and crane operation. Business and economist roles exist too for those who prefer a more office-based job and let’s not forget that the renewable energy arena also needs people qualified in sales, marketing, and accounting. So, the skills needed will depend on what part of the business you are attracted to.
What is it? In any society, we can be fairly sure of death, taxes and crime, and in this case, financial crime like fraud, money laundering, bribery, corruption, and scams is on the increase. Consequently, demand for workers to detect and prevent such financial crime is also rising.
What skills could be needed? You need to be keen on analysing and interpreting information and making decisions based on incomplete or ambiguous information; an eye for detail and the ability to communicate well and with integrity.
In conclusion, it’s sometimes too easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom of news headlines telling us that our youngsters will struggle to find work. I hope part one of this article encourages you to reflect that there are plenty of careers offering good prospects for young adults.